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Synchrotron tomography of intervertebral disc deformation quantified by digital volume correlation reveals microstructural influence on strain patterns

DOI: 10.1016/j.actbio.2019.05.021 DOI Help

Authors: C. M. Disney (The University of Manchester) , A. Eckersley (The University of Manchester) , J. C. Mcconnell (The University of Manchester) , H. Geng (Research Complex at Harwell) , A. J. Bodey (Diamond Light Source) , J. A. Hoyland (The University of Manchester; Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust) , P. D. Lee (Research Complex at Harwell; University College London Mechanical Engineering) , M. J. Sherratt (The University of Manchester) , B. K. Bay (Oregon State University)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Acta Biomaterialia

State: Published (Approved)
Published: May 2019
Diamond Proposal Number(s): 15444

Open Access Open Access

Abstract: The intervertebral disc (IVD) has a complex and multiscale extracellular matrix structure which provides unique mechanical properties to withstand physiological loading. Low back pain has been linked to degeneration of the disc but reparative treatments are not currently available. Characterising the disc’s 3D microstructure and its response in a physiologically relevant loading environment is required to improve understanding of degeneration and to develop new reparative treatments. In this study, techniques for imaging the native IVD, measuring internal deformation and mapping volumetric strain were applied to an in situ compressed ex vivo rat lumbar spine segment. Synchrotron X-ray micro-tomography (synchrotron CT) was used to resolve IVD structures at microscale resolution. These image data enabled 3D quantification of collagen bundle orientation and measurement of local displacement in the annulus fibrosus between sequential scans using digital volume correlation (DVC). The volumetric strain mapped from synchrotron CT provided a detailed insight into the micromechanics of native IVD tissue. The DVC findings showed that there was no slipping at lamella boundaries, and local strain patterns were of a similar distribution to the previously reported elastic network with some heterogeneous areas and maximum strain direction aligned with bundle orientation, suggesting bundle stretching and sliding. This method has the potential to bridge the gap between measures of macro-mechanical properties and the local 3D micro-mechanical environment experienced by cells. This is the first evaluation of strain at the micro scale level in the intact IVD and provides a quantitative framework for future IVD degeneration mechanics studies and testing of tissue engineered IVD replacements.

Journal Keywords: Intervertebral disc; X-ray micro-tomography; Strain; Digital volume correlation

Subject Areas: Biology and Bio-materials
Collaborations: Diamond Manchester

Instruments: I13-2-Diamond Manchester Imaging

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